Penticton Pinnacles kicking at first

Penticton Pinnacles U21 men’s soccer team has pushed their way into second place in the Pacific Coast Soccer League

TSS Academy midfielder Dylan Vanas keeps his eye on the ball as Penticton Pinnacles Connor Hawley (right) gives chase during action in last weekend’s Pacific Coast Soccer League men’s U21 reserve match at Kings Park. The host team roared to a 7-0 win over Academy and will be away for two of their final three matches this weekend

TSS Academy midfielder Dylan Vanas keeps his eye on the ball as Penticton Pinnacles Connor Hawley (right) gives chase during action in last weekend’s Pacific Coast Soccer League men’s U21 reserve match at Kings Park. The host team roared to a 7-0 win over Academy and will be away for two of their final three matches this weekend

The Tim Horton’s Penticton Pinnacles U21 men’s soccer team has pushed their way into second place in the Pacific Coast Soccer League after a big weekend.

The Pinnacles dominated the Kings Park pitch earning a 7-0 victory over TSS Academy. Now with just three games left in the regular season and trailing six points behind the first place overall Abbotsford MF Mariners, the Pinnacles need to remain vigilant.

“It will tough for us to catch first but our goal is to see if we can come in second which will really put us in good position for playoffs,” said coach Paulo Araujo.

In Sunday’s 7-0 win goals were scored by Wyatt Seddon-Johnstone with two, and Connor Hawley, Randy Hubber, Rico Patrocinio, Jeremy Pereira and Andrew Stevenson with singles. It was Patrocinio’s second game with the Pinnacles this season. Araujo said he has been a nice addition to the team as he has just come off his season in post-secondary playing at a high-level in Mexico.

“We hadn’t seen them this year so we weren’t really sure what to expect. We know they pulled some surprises beating the No. 1 team, so we went in really focused and put on a good show,” said Araujo. “The win really gives us some confidence going into this weekend’s crucial games. If we win our two games I am confident we will be in the playoffs.”

The Pinnacles will play Chiliwack FC on Saturday and TSS Academy on Sunday, both games on the road. The Pinnacles have only lost one game on the road so far this season.

“The keys to winning this weekend is to stay disciplined and to stay balanced. I think that is one of the reasons we are having success this year is because of that,” said Araujo.

They finish off the regular season against Victoria United at Kings Park July 21 at noon.

Penticton Pinnacles U21 women

While the U21 men are pushing for a top spot in the PCSL, the Greenscape Penticton Pinnacles U21 women are fighting for a playoff spot in a division that has a lot of parity.

“All the teams are good and anyone can beat anyone on any given day in this league,” said coach Ray Hintz.

Solid scoring opportunities is one of the things the coach is asking his team to focus on this weekend as the squad hasn’t been putting them away. A little luck can go a long way too, which was evident in last Sunday’s 1-1 tie against West Vancouver FC.

“We had the last chance of the game but, unfortunately for us, we just couldn’t score. We had a nice build up and Anika (Nystrom) went around the last two defenders and placed it in the corner. The shot was going between the goalie’s legs and she just happened to get it before it went over the goal line,” said Hintz.

Nystrom has been the team’s strongest scorer, currently sitting in fourth overall in the league but was shutout on last Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Mid Isle Highlanders FC. The coach said Nystrom has been bogged down with illness but they hope to have her on the pitch this weekend when they face the TSS Academy Black squad, who are first overall and have not lost a game all season. The Pinnacles also play TSS Academy Red on Saturday, a team they previously defeated 2-0 on the Pinnacles home pitch. Hintz will have to fill his beleaguered roster that has been subject to injuries and players having work commitments that they can’t get out of, possibly with younger players and a few strategic adjustments. With most of the PSCL teams touching elbows in the standings, and the Pinnacles tied for fourth place, they will probably need to get a point this weekend to make it into the playoffs.

“We need at least one win this weekend to stay in the playoff hunt. We are hoping to pick up two victories and it will be tough but the girls are up for the challenge,” said Hintz. “I think we can do it and put ourselves in a good position. We have only missed the playoffs once in our six or seven years in the league and we want to maintain that streak of getting in.”

Hintz said the team has been defending strong as a unit and the focus this weekend will be to being more aggressive in their attack, score on the chances they get and more ball possession. The Greenscape Pinnacles will play their final regular season game against the NSGSC Stars on July 20, 7 p.m. at King’s Park.

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